10 Months of Game Development

It has been hard for 10 months. To explain better I want to talk about what was the situation for us and how we dealt with the difficulties we have come across with.

We have been working full-time on game development with my friend to establish our own game studio for 10 months. We work as indie game developers which means either we are founding ourselves or we are not founded yet. We both had some savings in our hands and we made a choice. After searching for a job for 3 months all around the world (and receiving lots of thanks emails), we decided to work on our own job.

It was a difficult decision, but I asked my father if he can help me achieve my goals. Luckily my father was ok with me trying to do something like this. I collect all my savings, packed up my bag, took all my stuff and left İzmir to my hometown Balıkesir. Next thing was to find a place to work, live. I solved it by moving to my family’s summer house. (It was a tough winter). Then the last thing was to find a good co-founder to work with, it was quickly solved with a phone call. I asked my friend how would things go if we start working together? He is a very talented guy and more experienced than me in game development. We both knew we would love to do this job as living. Every time we meet, we were talking about how nice it could be if we can make our own game studio. All setup was done finally in September 2018.

The first thing we did was to create a website so people can reach us easily. It took us 3 days to prepare everything for the website. I thought we could build our games for pc too. So I prepared Kongregate and Itchio pages for us. This part was important because in my opinion if you believe what you are doing, you can be successful. We made 10 games within 10 months. Also, we have more than 5 prototypes which we have killed during the development phase. I would not recommend working this hard for anyone if you are not a beginner.

Our working routine:

My friend is a morning person and I am a night owl. So how do we work together? We were using sticky papers to the wall before now we are using Trello. It is essential to use this kind of a system to keep things organized. Things were a lot easier after we started using Trello.

trelloblur

 

I start working after 12pm and sometimes I keep working till 12am. On the other side, my friend starts working very early. Tasks are on the board. Pick the task you want to work on and finish it was the routine. On every project start, we add tasks after a brainstorming session then we start working on it. You can take a look at the process of making a game post for details. We are two software engineers graduated from the same University. We know how to make a game. We have a background at making games. This is why we could make games fast. Of course, we are not masters of game making but in every game we make we are getting better. Also, we are getting faster in executing tasks.

During these 10 months, we worked hard, got stressed, depressed but in the end, we started from nothing to here. Now we are working with publishers. Started earning a little amount of money from what we are love doing. It is a win-win situation here. Now it is time to focus on to how to increase the amount we are earning. Keep in touch I will tell my story from zero to 1 million dollars one day.

 

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Process of making games

How are we working on our games? We are working using an agile methodology. We are working with publishers and the way we work is sometimes exhausting but very efficient. Let me introduce the steps.

how we make.jpg

 

This graph above there are 5 major steps.

Idea Analyze

The first step is finding the game idea. In this step, we try to be as creative as we can.  Mostly we work on the idea by having a meeting and discussing what would be the gameplay. Best way to do that is actually drawing it. You can have a perfect game idea, that can be a great meeting, if you can’t show it on a drawing probably you are not talking, thinking the same concept with the attendees. Drawing is nice, easier to understand each other and helps you get quicker every time. Also, you don’t need to be great at drawing, we draw cubes, shapes in order to explain what will the game look like once it is finished.

Design

Once we are finished with the idea, we start working on the game design step. This step requires you to answer 3 questions.

  • What is the aim? What is your purpose?
  • How do you win the game?
  • How do you lose the game?

These 3 questions will help you more than you think. Finalizing this step gives the developer a basic look of the game. This is where you understand what is wrong or right about your game.

Implement

We start implementing the game. So much coding, improvements in the game and optimization decisions are taken in this step.

Test

We have contacts with publishers and we are trying to increase the potential of our games by discussing with them. Publishers will help you decide when you are stuck about a decision. With their guidance, you can simply change your main character from male to female or change the concept from killing a dude to knocking him out. (They know the trends).

Publish

This is the step where you will start earning from your game. Publishing your game is easy, publishing your game with a publisher is a little bit different. If you can publish your game with a publisher you will make a lot more money probably. You can read my article about the importance of publishers here: https://www.indiehackers.com/product/swift-panda-game-studios/-LegPuXaTEdf39QJeF03

Steam game?

Recently I have started working on a steam game. If you ask me “are there any differences between a steam game and a mobile game?”. The answer is definitely “Yes!”.

-How many?

-Lots of differences.

Most of the games I have worked on are small games. Optimization is essential for most of them. When I say optimization don’t get me wrong I am not a master on how to optimize a game. I just try to keep things minimal in a mobile game. Polygon counts, vertices, etc. I just know a couple of tricks. It works fine for now. Also if I do something wrong in a game thanks to users I can find the bugs and issues then quickly make the necessary fixes.

For example in one of our game, there was a funny issue. At the end of the game, a pop-up menu shows you your placement in the game. In that menu, we have made an if else statement where the code checks your current placement and depending on that placement it should give you 1st 2nd 3rd. However, we have forgotten to call the function at the end which gave us the result of st even if you are third fourth or tenth. There was a huge “2st” when you end up being the second. Of course, players were triggered and we had more than 10 comments saying “This is wrong!”. 

These are unprofessional mistakes I am aware of it but hey who says I am professional? I am still learning. How can I learn without making mistakes? I know people will punish me with harsh comments now. I started double checking everything after that mistake. 😀

In a steam game:

  • I learned that If you are making a steam game you should bring the game to a point where it is pretty much done. Comments in steam are really hard to swallow and that is what I am afraid of the most.
  • Effects and post-processing are important. People want to have good graphics. Or let’s say at least appealing graphics.
  • Goal? For a PC player, your game is some different world to explore. In one game event, I was watching a PC player the goal was given to the player, for example, go to A from B. I watched the player while he was exploring the map, going every corner, trying to find something different. Then I realize this user profile was different. (He wandered around for 5 mins for a 20-second task). We make many tests with users in mobile games, watching them closely while they are playing is the best way to explore your mistakes. Because basically, UX is really hard to understand. Make tests for understanding UX.
  • I learned how to use Cinemachine in Unity. I had no experience in using Cinemachine before. I guess the best way to have good storytelling is making cutscenes because the story is more important than a mobile game. Btw I worked on hyper-casual mobile games mostly where your user profile is very widened and the most important thing is the ease of your game in design.
  • Anyway, here you can see what I have done in Unity for a cutscene.

I will try to add more here as much as I can when I learn more.

Planet Boom on Kongregate

We are excited to have our first game on kongregate. It has been a rough ride through the year. While working on the updates and new games I finally had the time to build one of our games to pc platform. Looking forward to hear your comments and feedbacks.

Thanks!!

You can click on the image to play the game on kongregate.com

new

This is how we get started

 

This was us when we get started.

We don’t need anything, only one thing; being diligent!.

Hiçbir şeye ihtiyacımız yok, yalnız bir şeye ihtiyacımız vardır; çalışkan olmak!

Mustafa Kemal ATATÜRK

 

I have been working on game industry for a while and i have always wanted to make a blog like this. I guess i am ready to do so. I may explain some of my code but most of the time  i think i will be writing and drawing schemes about how to create those games. At the end i may share the code if you are interested. Please keep in touch.